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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

470                   MODERN   GKRMAN   LTTKRATURE

father with his amusing oddities and on the father's part a recog-
nition that Hans will after all make a passable doctor; this shows
when the ^angehender Antf und mfertifpr Dichter* acts as locum
tenens at Passau while his father is away for the sake of his health.
But poems are written which find their way into print, and for
those who know the writers of the period - Dauthendey, Wede-
kind and the rest - there is a thrill when Garossa comes in contact
with them during an excursion to Munich; and once more light is
thrown on the influences which go to the making of him as a poet.
It was Dehmel, he says, who stirred him to his depths, and it is
strange to read that for two long years he was obsessed with the
urge to write with DehmePs ring and rhythm. Prose, he thought,
was beyond his reach; but before his fancy hovered like a mirage
the desire to write prose solidly built and yet lightly floating
(fgfdiegen und doch schmhend*}* Here in a few well coined words he
gives the pith and essence of what was to make him the finest
prose writer, perhaps, of his day, A pathetic interest attaches to
his last book of all, Der alte Taschenspiekr^ ftrwhstuck aits einem mlt-
lichen Mysterium (1956); a beautiful edition had been prepared by
the Insel-Verlag as a birthday gift for the i j th December, but the
poet had passed away in September, The first part of the poem is
reprinted from the 1932 edition of Gedithte\ the second part was
completed in the spring of 1940. Since we are faced with a frag-
ment pointing to an intended Faustian completion an elucidation
is difficult. We can see that it has a close connection with the auto-
biography; we remember the old conjurer uncle whose tricks
Hans tried to imitate in Eim Kindfmt, and so, presumably, we have
an old friend ndivivus* Inwoven into the mystery play are Carossa's
cosmic concepts, doubled by the idea that the heavenly powers,
ever at work, must, by forceful enlightenment (or, prosaically
stated, by the force of events), reclaim the rabid youths (Welt-
nemnr) who call for the destruction of all that is*

The definitive edition of Carossa's verse is Ges&ntmelte Gtdichtt
(1947)- The first reading of the book as a whole is apt to leave the
impression of opaqueness and metrical heaviness. But the mist
lifts and the verse rings ttue If there is patient and expectant ex-
ploration. There are two keys to comprehension: familiarity with
the life-story and an ever-present consciousness in the reader's
mind of the essential factors of the poefs biological philosophy,
The verse might be divided into poems of intense personal experi-